Blue Line 4 Week Average
The market was expecting the weekly initial unemployment claims at 275,000 to 295,000 (consensus 285,000) vs the 283,000 reported. The more important (because of the volatility in the weekly reported claims and seasonality errors in adjusting the data) 4 week moving average moved from 284,000 (reported last week as 283,500) to 281,000.
It should be pointed out that Econintersect watches the year-over-year change on the 4 week moving average. There is always some seasonality which migrates into the seasonally adjusted data, and year-over-year comparisons helps remove some seasonality. The four week rolling average of initial claims are 19.3% lower (better than the 16.0% reported last week) than they were in this same week in 2013 (see chart below).
2014 claim levels are now near 40 year lows (with the normal range around 350,000 weekly initial unemployment claims of levels seen historically during times of economic expansion - see chart below).
From the Department of Labor:
In the week ending October 18, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 283,000, an increase of 17,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 2,000 from 264,000 to 266,000. The 4-week moving average was 281,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since May 6, 2000 when it was 279,250. The previous week's average was revised up by 500 from 283,500 to 284,000. There were no special factors impacting this week's initial claims.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.8 percent for the week ending October 11, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending October 11 was 2,351,000, a decrease of 38,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 2,389,000. This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since December 23, 2000 when it was 2,340,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,381,000, a decrease of 22,750 from the previous week's unrevised average of 2,403,750. This is the lowest level for this average since May 20, 2006 when it was 2,377,750.
Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims - 4 Week Average - Seasonally Adjusted - 2011 (red line), 2012 (green line), 2013 (blue line), 2014 (orange line)